Thursday, June 04, 2009

#IeL09 Will Wright Keynote

Presentation: Keynote - Will Wright
Presenter: Will Wright

Had a fantastic conversation with Craig Wiggins and Clark Quinn. Will talk about it later when I get a chance.

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Game Design
- Hard part is the DESIGN side.
- Have to be a designer at different levels.
+ Story
+ Hobby - long-term involvement
+ Skill
- Also has elements of architecture, arts, math, psychology
- SUperset of other design fields.

Combination of requirements for any design artifacts
- Job to balance all factors

Research
Prototypes
Talk
Play testing

Trying to prune branches as quickly as possible.

Cultural recognition of games - tainted
- see them as violent, "too immersive"
- Remember - books were threatening too.
- It is an indication of power that media can be absorbing

Every time new format comes out - turns thumb old formats look down at format after that.
- Most media go through tremendous evolution - content, use

Comic books originally religious propaganda
Writing originally early bookkeeping

Technology changes affect arc of media

People who invent these things don't see where things eventually go.

TV - "renaissance in education"

Always good and bad as things mature. Chaotic evolution.

[ Very fast history of media technology ]

Every format start as specific problem solving.
Being used for broader purposes.

Learning
- Do not think about "education". Seems disconnected
- Very broad activity. Fundamental survival thing organisms face.
- We have experiential bubble. We process information from world. Then relate.
- Learning is about improving the loop.
- We build models, do scenarios.
+ Sub-aspects - classification, causality, empathy (reading others), agency
- All of this instantaneously
- We take the model making for granted.
- For animals - classification - eat or be eaten
- Higher levels - begin to develop causality, empathy, agency

More intelligence, harder to predict.
- what may have bootstrapped intelligence.

Experience bubble - we are learning from experience we have.
- Finding ways to enhance learning.
- Some experience through toy experience (play. ALso learning)
- Learning from others experiences (story. also learning)

Story / Play
- Story we see as emotionally rich thing.
+ Games have a very rich emotional palate, but different
- Video games - pride, guilt accomplishment. You have agency. Causes different emotions.
- Linear media - joy, sorrow, pity

Some of best stories are deconstructive. I can take them apart.
- Can play with the parts. death star v. borg cube.
- What about harry potter spiderman?
- Eventually lead to interesting play experiences (even in imagination)

Best play - inherently generative
- The things share with each other - the unique stuff.
- The interesting stories are the gamers story THEY constructed.

Story and PLay forms of model building playing off each other.
- Exploring a possibility space.
- Games have the restart ability. We can't do this in real life.
- We can try different choices. We will never get the reality.

Choose your own adventure book - early form of branching.

Game - have level, ultimately have to collapse back to get to the next level.

More - gaming is evolving into open simulations.
- Sims
- Grand Theft Auto
- May have structure and goals - but more satisfying more can customize.

Dimensions in Sims
- Material or Social success.
- Highest level, need to balance the two.
- Can capture data to see how pwople are going through the spaces and how to balance that. Then improve.

Toy worlds buiit on idea of abstraction
- Value of model - you are removing levels of reality. Can focus attention
- Subway map - only have details absolutely want
- Toy design - leave lots open ended, minimal detail.

Toys and games through very presentation make scary subject accessible.

Subtle presentation changes, certain level of abstraction - we want to play. Fill in the details.

Language - Dealing with it in different levels (design language)
- What are the concepts the player is manipulating.
- Kids are seeing a much higher level of abstraction than we think.

We are learning new languages all the time.
- We use a sign language called "mouse". Mouse - version 1 - Do/POint. 2.0 Do (left) ask(right) Point. Gets more complicated.....
- Games are the same way. Game players having elaborate conversations - fairly fluently. Good gamers paying attention to the abstraction - not the talk with the computer.

In Simulation Design
- Structure. What are the parts of a system?
- Dynamics - What are the changes in the structure over time?

Dynamics / Topology / Paradigm
- [I hope I can find that graphic]
- Games can be classified by how rigid the topology is. Agents (flexible, individual) / Networks / Layers (like levels)
- Dynamics (Verbs)
+ Propogation of material, information, patterns.
+ Cheat codes bait to connect to community
+ medium
+ Time
+ Growth
+ Grouping
- Topology - Dynamics + Topology (nouns)
+ Network theory, chaos theory, cybernetics, adaptive systems
+ Based on interesting technology at the time. Popular ways of looking at the world (relativity (lg) vs Quantum mechanics (sm) )
+ Cybernetics - control theory. How can we mimic the autonomous control system?
+ Jay Forrester - System Dynamics. You can simulate anything by stocks and flows.
-- Chemical processing
-- Output - limits to growth. Building model of entire world. Ran model and predicted that around 1986 world economy collapse. Got a couple of variables wrong that amplified.
-- First inkling into Chaos theory
+ Cellular Automata - behavior emergene from the rules
-- Sim City - simple rule sets leading to complicated behavior
+ Chaos theory - certain systems inherently unpredictable
-- Phase space / possibility space

Other Topographical concepts
Complex Adaptive Systems
- So self aware (economy, biology, civil) - lots of inherent density of feedback
- Run from random, disordered to frozen, ordered.
- The middle systems are chaotic and most interesting (fractals, homeostatic, limit cycles)
- Simulations spotlight ignorance of particular systems and where those points of ignorance are.
- What do we need to learn? SImulations excellent.

Network Theory 0 can look at almost anything as an "internet"
- Power Law Distribution
- Connectedness. When take individual agents and connect them at random, how many do you need to make before you have a fully connected system.
+ Graph width - how many steps to get from 1 to another.
+ Never really more than 6 links

[my notes are a tad confused - he went mighty fast with some very complex ideas]

Schema - we can abstract from large sets of data - rules
- Expectation for things to occur. Because MOST situations have MOST of the steps

Interesting when the Schema goes awry.

Models building from schema
- Collecting higher level schema to build model
- Kids using scientific method when playing. Model > do > what happens > tweak model

Game designer - what is the most succinct set of rules that will lead to the widest variety of situations.

Gamer is engaged in model building.
- You are building the model in the players head!!!!!
- The computer stuff is bootstrapping players model. But Player's model development key.
- Will need to ramp it up over time. Layer on complexity.
+ Start simple (kill the Nazis). Add more complexity over time.

Right off the back - fail until figure out how to move character.
2nd level - using motion to figure out how to do simple problems.
next level - more complex problem.
next level is nested from the previous,

Players enjoy the failure side more than success.
- Want the failures to be diverse.
- "Last time I failed this way, maybe I can do it THIS WAY...."

Want them to bring familiar metaphors to a game
- Sims, electonic doll house
- SimCity - train set

Model building begins before game is even purchased.
- What the game about, what like
- If it seems "fun" - more model. Model fun enough - may bring it home.
- They are playing it in their imagination in the store.

Game designers act as anthropologist
- Looking at body language
- Artifacts within game
- Help understand what player thinking
- Want player to describe to the game designer how it works. Very illuminating.
- "Mouse test" - Let me try! Indication they have successfully bootstrapped a model.
- "Do you want to save it?" - if want to save progress, tells them game has gotten to a certain stage. Still want to play after walk away. "When I get back I want to try....."

Imagination - the human side of the equation
- want the games to be scaffolds to players imagination

People excited to do fun creative stuff.
- jumping things, etc
- Self-expression most motivating factor. "Look what I did!"
- Want to share
- amount of stuff people create for each other astounding.

People using games as independent filmmaking tools.

Now the line between consumer and producer being broken down.
- through games and interactive web technologies

For any format - large # consumers, small # producers
- skill required steep
- In games - wanting to lower skill required
+ Want to make the curve of producers linear. Want more people involved at different levels.

Community
- Value proposition and interactions - between each others

Ladder
- Casual player to collectors to producers(?) to creator
- Also recognition the other way. REcognition from the larger community
- Losing control of the community is a good thing.

Spore - wanted the community to create the creatures.
- 1 million Spore creatures in 1 week

If you give the people the right tools and right motivation - power of collective effort.

Computers good at harvesting human intelligence.
- Distill in form useful to you

Spore and games like it - can harvest human creativity

Games to computer what racing to cars
- Entertainment in general is driving technology in general.

Virtual Reality
Augmented reality - you can map computer / virtual data onto real world.
- Starting to appear on cell phones

Graphics really evolved.
- Controllers very clunky.
- Starting to increase the input pipelin (see Wii)

Non digital content - 20 terrabites library of content.
Within 1 year - terabyte thumb drive.

Motivation is the issue, not access.

Constructivism - way to spark imagination

Computers - expand imagination

Amplification of imagination allow us to expand our world. Gives games power.

1 comment:

pablo Lara said...

Amazing.